Friday, 2 September 2016

This one goes up to twelve

Thursday night, and Andrew and I surveyed the cupboard with both of us looking to play something reasonably hefty. When Andrew pointed out that we are - pretty much - the only people at GNN who are enthusiastic about Macao, our minds were made up. And fortunately, for the somewhat thinly-stretched meme of numbering the blog posts right now, it plays over twelve rounds.

once, it was oh so different

So we began! Claiming city quarters, grabbing goods and (eventually) shipping them to distant climes. For those hazy on the workings of Macao, you're collecting cubes to spend in future rounds, and the cubes can be spent in a variety of ways. Taking controlling of a city quarter (and picking up goods in the process), moving your ship (to deliver said goods) or moving along the wall (starting player/tie-breaker). Most crucially though, you're spending cubes to get cards off your tableau: cards on your tableau do nothing except cost you points at the game end, but once they're off they suddenly become useful. Finally if you generate gold you can pay 'tribute' and alchemically turn it into points...

How we approached the game was vastly different. Andrew took a number of easy-to-action office cards in order to get gold and claim points from the tribute track on a regular basis. He also had a card that allowed him to buy prestige twice per round (once is the norm)  but unfortunately he couldn't get it actioned until late in the game.

I went for some slightly harder-to-action cards that once out of my tableau bought me some good rewards, and stockpiled cubes to turn my ship into a kind of cargo-delivering speedboat on the final round. My strategy worked:

Sam 96
Andrew 47

With that old favourite tucked back in the cupboard we went for a two-player Codenames. Andrew began as spymaster and I - not for the first time - made a pretty miserable spy. Andrew's clue of "cupboard" should have alerted me to the word "game" at least, if not "centre", but having seen the word "amazon" out there, I couldn't shake famous children's novels from my mind and was convinced the clue related to Narnia in some way. We failed.

Swapping over was more successful. There were still a few bungled clues and/or guesses, but we defeated the insentient opposition by a comfortable three answers. There was just time for a bit of old-school PS4 (No Man's Sky!) before we called it a reasonably early night.


  1. Count me in as one of those that likes Macao :)

    What do you think of No Mans Sky. Even though I don't own a console I wanted to know what all the fuss was about so I watched some reviews and play throughs. I love the concept but wondered if there was enough game in there since you never meet anyone and after you've visited a dozen planets you may feel you are repeating the actions.

    I thought it looked like a modern day Elite.

  2. It IS like a modern day Elite. I loved Elite. And I love the freedom of No Man's Sky. But I'd concur that it does feel slightly directionless; it's beautiful, but playing it I'm cognisant of it being an 'experience' more than a game.

    Every time I play a computer game these days though I feel I'd rather be playing a board game to be honest.

  3. Macao was great. I got an engine up nice and early and decided to try and get as much out of the tribute track as possible. But I wasn't able to use it every turn and using all those cubes for coins meant I couldn't buy city quarters/jokers. Plus, of course, when the tribute track was cheap enough for me to use, it was cheap enough for Sam to use, too. Not a great strategy.